PhD n°1: The puppet and its drama. Dramaturgies for contemporary puppet theatre in France and Italy (1981-2020), Francesca DI FAZIO

Since the end of the 20th century, puppet theatre has undergone profound changes, both in terms of aesthetics and dramaturgy. While in France there have been many experiences of collaboration between playwrights and puppeteers, in Italy there have been playwriting experiments by the puppeteers themselves, composing texts of a more literary quality, which have sometimes been published. In the course of these encounters with the stage, the position of the author of puppet theatre becomes “fluid”, going from the external writer answering a commission, to the dramaturge, to the co-creator of the shows. A greater attention to dramaturgical issues has strengthened the relationship between puppetry and acting. By virtue of this osmosis, certain characteristics of the contemporary regime of writing, such as the “rhapsodisation” of texts highlighted by Jean-Pierre Sarrazac and some features of postdramatics, described by Hans-Thies Lehmann, are at work in the puppet plays composed since the 1980s. The comparison of French creations (through the examples of Daniel Lemahieu and François Lazaro, Jean Cagnard and Cie Arketal, Kossi Efoui and Théâtre Inutile, Dennis Cooper and Gisèle Vienne) and Italian ones (by Guido Ceronetti, Giuliano Scabia, Gigio Brunello and Gyula Molnár, Marta Cuscunà, Fabiana Iacozzilli, among others) shows how they exploit the puppet and its multiple techniques of manipulation in order to interweave the word to the images generated by the object. Although a greater innovative impulse can be observed in France, while the relations with the different regional traditions remain more anchored in Italy – also due to the different systems of support for creation, as shown by the examination of the two cultural policies –, the analysis of several texts attests that the most recurrent poetics and motifs are common to both territories, by virtue of the possibilities of figuration offered by puppets: the confrontation with current problems and the traumas of history, the dive into the human mind, the imagination of post-anthropocentric territories, the encounter with disorder and death. 


Key words: Puppet, Playwriting, Dramaturge, Repertoires, France, Italy, Contemporary theatre, Cultural policies


Last updated : 10/11/2022